Damian Rollison: The annual report’s main takeaways are clear: to rank competitively for local searches today, you must focus your attention on three areas: one, providing Google with as much relevant local content as possible; two, pleasing your customers, pointing them to where they can review your business, and responding to their reviews; and three, creating a useful, relevant local landing page or website with authoritative backlinks.
Damian Rollison: It became clear to me, during Yelp’s presentation at the recent Brandify Summit, that the company has become a data amplifier. Here I’m making use of Gib Olander’s helpful term for companies whose data finds its way into a multitude of consumer-facing channels. In this column, I break down the significance of that state of affairs for hyperlocal marketing.
At times, the research findings published in our industry seem a little suspect. But in one vertical in particular, there’s a body of academic research that speaks to exactly the kinds of questions we want answered about reputation management—namely, does online review monitoring and response really make a difference to a business’s bottom line?
You’re well covered today on the three top voice platforms if you have strong listings on Google, Apple, and Yelp. If you want to do even more, make sure your Bing listings are up to date for Cortana (note that Yelp reviews show up here as well), and submit your listing info to Here and Foursquare in order to be found in Samsung’s Bixby interface.
Reputation management services should focus on helping businesses understand what consumers are saying and engage with reviewers by responding. Unbiased review content is a true goldmine for the brand who works with a reputation company to glean deep insights about consumer sentiment offered by consumers themselves for free.
Justin O’Beirne marvels that, with the AOI initiative, Google has figured out how to “create data out of data,” meaning that AOIs are a mashup of 3D modeling and data extraction from images. Looked at more broadly, this is not the only example where Google has built features on top of features within the Maps universe.
Aditya Tendulkar is about as close to the source as you can get when it comes to the strategic direction of Maps and Google My Business. We asked him a few questions about the quick pace of feature releases in recent months and the new openness Google seems to be showing toward listing management companies and crowdsourcing.
As of this year, the task of updating the Local Search Ecosystem has been handed to Darren Shaw of Whitespark, who also inherited David Mihm’s other well-known brainchild, the Local Search Ranking Factors report. Last week, Darren released Local Search Ecosystem 2017, a bold departure in visual design and a much-needed update to the last edition, from 2014.
Even though ecommerce is growing and brick-and-mortar retail is arguably in the midst of a slow decline, 90% of consumer dollars are still spent in physical stores, and the intent of Google’s store visits data is to help demonstrate the efficacy of multiple online touchpoints that might drive consumers into a store.
For marketers and local businesses, it’s always a challenge to keep track of the search giant’s frequent shifts in policy in policy, procedure, and terminology. This year has been especially dizzying, though to those paying attention, many opportunities are presenting themselves to reach out to customers in new ways.